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From Game Boy to Gucci American advertising in the naughty 1990s From the Los Angeles riots to the Columbine High School massacre, Americans witnessed events and purchased items that reflected the best and worst of the decade. Bill Clinton’s presidency was in jeopardy, the digital age had erupted, and Silicon Valley was affecting everyone on the planet. Meanwhile nudity and sex ruled the pages of magazines, selling everything from haute couture to fragrances and microwave ovens. Nirvana entertained Generation X while the “Greatest Generation” considered purchasing a Probe and something called a Hummer.
Super Soakers and the game consoles Game Boy and PlayStation were the new toys, as Super Mario World, Gran Turismo, and Sonic the Hedgehog were warping the minds of young people everywhere. Luxury brands were in demand: shoppers coveted a Gucci bag, a Louis Vuitton tote, a Hermes scarf, or a Prada frock. TWA and Continental Airlines still flew the airways and Volkswagen reimagined the Beetle. It was a decade that seemed safely benign, but was jammed with events and consumption on a grand scale, setting the stage for the 21st century.
Featuring six chapters that cover a range of advertising, from food and fashion to entertainment and cars, a Desert Storm’s worth of advertising highlights makes All-American Ads of the ’90s a must-have compendium for every Beanie Babies–collecting, Simpsons-watching, pog-hoarding, and Harry Potter–loving citizen of 1990s consumerism.
The author Steven Heller has produced over 200 books on visual communication and published countless articles in international design magazines. Currently he is cofounder and cochair of the MFA Design program at the School of Visual Arts, New York.
The editor Jim Heimann is the Executive Editor for TASCHEN America. A cultural anthropologist, historian, and an avid collector, he has authored numerous titles on architecture, pop culture, and the history of Los Angeles and Hollywood, including TASCHEN’s Surfing, Los Angeles. Portrait of a City, California Crazy, and the All-American Ads series.